What To Bring

  • Treats: variety, top shelf, bring twice what you think you need 
  • All leashes, harnesses, collars, etc that you currently have. 
  • Toys: all your dog’s favorites
  • Cash, Check or Charge for purchasing any equipment you may need 
  • Hungry Dog: If dog is low in food drive you might want to skip a meal before training
  • Outdoor clothing and sensible shoes
  • Positive attitude and energy 


  • Leashes: 6’ leash, 26’ Retractable, 50’ Longline, 1’ Tab
  • Treats and Treat Bag
  • Toys
  • Harness (mostly for small or fragile dogs)
  • YOU 
    • Be the Squirrel = play, affection, fun, upbeat attitude
    • Be the Leader = Fun, Firm, Fair

Dog Comes Every Time vs Dog Can Be Called Anytime 

  • Coming every time you call can happen right now
    • Be selective about when you call 
    • Only call when enforceable or certain that it will happen
    • Never Call and Have Dog Fail to Come
      • Must happen and must be rewarding
  • Coming anytime, anywhere takes a ton of practice and consistency  

Foundational Concepts and Principles 

    • Skills = cues, commands, concepts and principles
    • Q – “What should I do when I’m in a situation where I wish I had a trained dog?”
    • A – “Train your dog.”
  • Provider vs Captor
    • Fulfillment 
    • Dog sees you as a provider of good things, not as a barrier to them.
  • Provider vs Servant
    • Leadership 
    • Dog sees you as a provider of good things which must be earned, not as a servant who is expected to provide freely. 
  • Engagement
    • Motivators: food, toys, wrestling/play-fighting, praise, affection, running, fun
    • Reward Event = Prolonged, dynamic, repeated, playful, fun delivery of rewards
    • Dog wants to be with you more than anywhere else
      • “That was great, now what kind of cool stuff are we gonna do?”
    • Corrections for checking out 
      • Balance, Layering, Fairness, Redirection 
  • Positive Reinforcement vs Enforcement 
    • Rewarding AND Mandatory 
    • Balance of Positive and Negative Reinforcement 
  • Leash Pressure Conditioning 
    • “Talking” with the leash and the importance of maintaining slack 
    • Light pressure followed immediately by slack and a reward 
    • Pop vs Pull 
  • Yes and No (You must have both for reliability but Yes is best)
    • Reward Marker vs Continuation Marker (Praise or Keep Going Signal)
    • No Reward Marker vs Conditioned Punisher 
  • Tone of Voice
    • Exciting = may be loud but non-threatening for Recall
    • Hi and fun for encouragement
    • Low and firm for corrections
    • Quiet and drawn out for calmness 
  • Body Language
    • Bent down = play mode = fun, excitement, encouragement (play/prey drive) 
    • Stand tall = working mode = dominance, attentiveness (authority/pack drive)
  • Reward and Punishment Awareness
    • Aligning consequences
    • What is rewarding or punishing for the dog at any given moment
    • Dog’s point of view, “What are the consequences of my actions?”
    • Association will be with most recent action.
      • Calling to scold for digging will create negative associating with coming, not digging. 
  • Acronyms
    • CPR = Command, Praise, Release 
    • The Four Ds = Duration, Distance, Distraction, Diversity 
    • The Three Ps = Pleasure, Paycheck, Penalty
    • The Four As = Acquisition, Accuracy, Animation, Accountability

Recall Rules

  • Coming When Called Should Be Rewarding AND Mandator
  • Rewarding 
  • Never call for what the dog sees as a negative (this is punishment)
    • Coming in the house to be crated
    • Coming to have something taken out of their mouth
    • Coming to be put on leash, taken from the dog park, given a bath, scolded for chewing something, etc. 
  • Mandatory 
    • Never Call and Have the Dog Fail To Come
    • Practice on-leash or in enclosed distraction-free areas
    • Demands and Corrections
      • “I’m not asking for a favor!” 
      • Corrections must be associated with the failure to comply, not with coming
      • Corrections should only come after the behavior has been heavily reinforced with reward-based, motivational methods
      • Corrections must only come after leash pressure conditioning 
  • Don’t Chase the Dog
    • Follow if necessary but don’t chase
    • Chase games OK if the dog chases you
  • Recalling from Stay
    • Not too much
    • Weakens the stay and doesn’t generalize to a real world recall very well

Recall Banking (Investing)

  • Direct Recall with major distractions (25 points)
  • Direct Recall with mild distractions (10 points)
  • Delayed or Slightly Detoured by 30 seconds (1 point)
  • Longline Recall with a correction (0 points but good practice)
  • Reverse or Longline Recalls in low distraction areas (0 points but good practice)
  • Delayed or Detoured by over 30 seconds (-100 points)
  • Delayed or detoured by over 1 minute (-500 points)
  • Failed Recall: not coming at all, running away, etc. or  (-1000 points)
  • You need at least 1000 points before considering going off leash
    • At least 500 of those points must around major distractions
  • Recalling off-leash is gambling.
    • Don’t gamble with scared money!
  • Layaway vs Debt

Recall Games and Exercises

  • Leadership Walking 
    • Walk with a sense of purpose and adventure
    • No commands unless necessary, looking for dog to follow naturally
    • Environmental rewards = sniffing and exploring
    • Avoid dog hitting end of long line without verbal warning
      • Direction change commands = “This way” or “Let’s go” 
    • Leading from behind = DON’T FOLLOW THE DOG 
  • Casual vs Formal Recalls
    • Casual = “C’mere” = No Sit and no treats, just petting and praise
    • Formal = “Come” = Sit in front with focus, lure/reward with treats 
  • Reverse Recall
    • Start on 6’ leash then increase distance (Backchaining/Shaping) 
    • Call the dog and backup (throw your body in reverse)
    • Casual or Formal Recall
    • T-Rex Arms
      • Make them come get it, don’t reach out to deliver. 
    • Layering and conditioning of leash pressure
  • Reward Marker Practice
    • Backing, forward and lateral drills 
  • Food Fetch and Paper Plate Recalls  
  • Runaway Game
  • Don’t Be Greedy Recalls
    • Don’t mess around, reward immediately! 
    • Formal recall means treat as soon as their butt hits the ground but at first you may need to give a “easy A” as soon as they get to you.
    • Give praise and encouragement (or Reward Marker) as soon as they turn towards you
      • Continue praising as they are in the process of coming towards you. (Continuation Marker)
  • Pez Dispenser Recalls: multiple reverse recalls, rapid fire treats, “Jackpot” rewards
  • Puppy Ping-Pong or Round Robin = calling back and forth between two or more people  
  • Restrained Recalls
    • Builds drive through frustration – best with a harness for extreme drive building
    • Reverse psychology – dog is being denied the ability to come to you 
    • Caution with fearful/nervous dogs. It may reinforce the flight impulse. 
  • Reward Event Relays = reward until next dog finishes recall 
  • Paddleball Recalls = call-release-call, can be combined with food fetch
  • Distraction Proofing (call away from competing motivators) 
    • Control over competing motivator and/or control over dog (+/- punishment)
    • Granny’s Rule Recalls 
    • Corridor Recalls = between two lines of dogs
    • Parallel Recalls
    • Frogger Recalls = through scattered walking/heeling dogs
    • Mass Recalls = calling a group of dogs all at once
    • Detour Recalls = Doggie IQ/Problem Solving Test
    • Distraction Recalls = from playing, greeting, teasing, sniffing, etc. 
    • Temptation Recalls = “leave it” food, toys, etc. 
    • Criss Cross Recalls = passing in opposite directions
  • Recall Races = timed, parallel or relay teams
  • Hide n Seek = out of sight recalls 

Complementary Commands and Games

  • Name Game
  • Leave It
  • Wait
  • Fetch and Tug
  • Chase/Runaway: Dog chases you, please do not chase the dog. Can be combined with treats or toys.
  • Heel and Loose Leash Walking: Loose leash = dog is with you mentally rather than mechanically 
  • Finish


  • E-collars are beyond the scope of this class but may be required for highly reliable recalls, prey drive issues, long line wiseness, etc.
  • Contact chad@thrivingcanine.com if interested in e-collar classes. 
  • Please do not use these tools without proper training. 

Practice, Practice, Practice

  • The Five Ps = Proper Practice Prevents Poor Performance

Thank you very much for taking this course! I hope you found it helpful. I also hope to see you at some of our other classes to continue practicing your recall training as well as all the other commands, group hikes, agility obstacles and whatever other fun and challenging things we practice every week.

Chad Culp – Certified Dog Trainer, Canine Behavior Consultant, Owner of Thriving Canine. 

© Thriving Canine 2024

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